Lucas van der Schalk, CEO of Corplex recently participated in a live panel discussion on Modern supply chain strategies: Environmentally-centric sourcing, manufacturing, and logistics. The event took place on September 17, 2020. This discussion was organized by Reuters Event and shared during a digital session. Here is a summary of Lucas’ view on sustainability and how returnable packaging can be virtuous with regards to closed-loop organizations.
L.. v. d. S.: Not only do we focus on the end of life product, but more importantly, we focus on the beginning of life product, where we try to reduce the amount of waste, for instance, the air waste in trucks as we try to reuse the resources that we have, for as long as possible.
How do you track sustainability in your supply chains?
L.. v. d. S.: We’ve set up a whole new closed-loop transportation system by developing a packaging that we can bring back after use. The packaging is collapsible, which means it goes out full and it comes back empty and collapsed. As a result of that, we saved for one of our key account customers, just on a single product, 300t of CO² in a year.
Having in mind that the customer transports hundreds of thousands of products a year, we are talking about hundreds of thousands of tons of CO² saved annually, simply by efficiently reusing packaging in a closed-loop system.
Is being green a fashion? Does it cost in the end or does it save money?
L.. v. d. S.: If you look at the whole automotive industry, It’s probably the most efficient and money-conscious business in the world. They only rely on closed-loop systems because it saves them money. Not just on transportation, but also, as you don’t need to think about reordering the packagings, your procurement budget gets reduced.
Finally, the efficiencies that you have out of that are huge, because it’s something that runs by itself.
How do you do to make sustainability a top priority, not only for executives but also for people on the work floor?
L.. v. d. S.: As we became a new company in February this year, we opened up both the choice of the company name, the tagline, the vision and the mission to the employees and they all contributed to that.
Our tagline, ‘Circular Plastics Solutions’ is very much about sustainability. Within the factories, we are recycling everything that we do and nothing leaves our sites. We can say, at Corplex, we have a zero waste to landfill philosophy and that makes me and the people at Corplex incredibly proud of being part of this business.
It’s about giving a story to every level of the organization, to show them how they contribute to sustainability. That’s the most fascinating thing for me; to see that people are very proud of what they do because they have a story to tell that we are able to use plastic to create products that last for a long time.
What do you think about supply chain resilience?
L.. v. d. S.: For me, there isn’t a conflict between resilience and sustainability. The more resilient your loops are and if there are loops, the more sustainable your business will be as well. That’s the crucial word. Most of what we do can be nearshored and this should be done in loops so that you are reusing those resources all the time in circular supply chains rather than using linear supply chains.